Secretary Review: Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts) – Varun Teja Salady


You’ll find the other manifesto reviews here.

The colour code used in this review works like this:

  • Green – completed already

  • Yellow– partially completed and/or will most likely be completed before end of tenure

  • Red not completed, or left to future Secretaries


Conduct events requiring minimal preparation in an informal arena to encourage participation and interaction among students

The Clubs in general saw an increase in the number of non-competitive events this year (like the Writing Club’s Inklings)

A range of online competitions which endeavour to bring together participants across different strata in the cultural sphere

A set of online events have apparently been planned for the month of April. Also, the Music Club conducted the lipsync contest and solo vocals competition online.

VarunBeyond the gates: Workshops and Cultural Fests outside IIT Madras will be publicized to ensure maximum participation

Varun claims that as a result of this, the quizzing team of IIT Madras has visited several other college fests and won quite a few prizes. The choreo team too has won a couple of competitions outside. WeDesi, the band has also participated in the IIMB cultural festival, through the Club. But, these clubs have a tradition of participating in such competitions anyway and no team was seen participating in an outside festival for the first time ever. Hence, this point is red.

 Cultural Club Designers: Set up a team of designers exclusively allocated for print and digital media as per the requirements of various cultural clubs

No club had a team of designers exclusively assigned to them. Most clubs took the help of the Design Club.

Showcase cultural performances by institute students during the closing ceremony of Sports Fest, in coordination with Institute Sports Secretary

No such cultural performance happened.

Lit-Soc App and Chrome Browser Extension: To publicize events, disseminate information and place reminders for subscribed genres/events

The Lit-Soc App has been developed, and will be launched soon. The Chrome Browser Extension, however, will not be developed during this tenure.

Launch the Lit-Soc portal as a hub of online competitions and other information/introductory videos for events made from video footage of Saarang and Lit-Soc

The Lit-Soc portal has been completed, and hasn’t been up due to some technical issues with the website.

Lit-Soc year book: All the memorable instances from previous year will be documented and made available in the form of a year book to the Alumni

Will be completed and released by the end of the tenure, but this seems unlikely.



 PG Cultural Affairs Core: Towards extending awareness and outreach and to promote participation amongst PG students

Despite there being representatives from the PGs for cultural activities in the institute, there was no PG Cultural Affairs Core appointed.

PG Lit-Soc council: To promote inter department interaction and equal opportunities for participation

The PG Lit-Soc Council, a group of around 15 members, which constituted of the Cultural Affairs Secretaries, Events Cores and a number of representatives from the PGs’ side who took care of registration and publicity of the respective events did meet up 3 to 4 times over the tenure so far. Misram, the PG inter-departmental competition, happened for the first time but saw sparse participation.


Introducing a database “Club-pedia” of tutorial videos on music, theatre, digital arts and other art/literary forms

The same will be up along with the launch of the Lit-Soc Portal.

Garnering Sponsorship and logistical support through a formal club support team Setting stage for the display of club artwork at strategic locations like CLT, Himalaya


Only the Quiz Club uses an exclusive team to take care of their Sponsorships and PR deals. The artwork of the Fine Arts Club will be put up at these locations in the month of April.

Institute Music Album: Propose to provide opportunities to institute bands to record tracks at subsidized rates

Intripped, a band from the institute, has availed the opportunity of recording a song for free at Aura Studios. This song is now the official theme song of Saarang.

Conduct an array of workshops/sessions to provide students with exposure towards unique and unexplored art forms

Several clubs, notably the Fine Arts Club and the Writing Club, has conducted such sessions which provided exposure to different art forms. It is to be noted that this was due to the enthusiasm of the conveners themselves- not all clubs did equally well.


Saarang Mela: Stalls from 5-6 different states and cultural performances, works of artisans, food stalls etc as a celebration of regional culture

Despite having talks with the various Samhitis in the institute, the plans of such a “Mela” during Saarang were scrapped, primarily due to the lack of space.

Saarang Symposium: As a platform to engage, debate and discuss about pressing issues and a tangible impact as an outcome

Varun says that the Eunoia Cancer Conclave was a reasonable substitute, although it was centered around a sponsorship deal with Apollo Hospital, and was more a talk rather than a symposium. We are yet to see a ‘tangible’ outcome.

Saarang News Letter: Look back of the best Saarang moments and also an invite for the coming Saarang

The publicity team has compiled the best moments of Saarang. This will be sent to the  participants. Contacts will be transferred to next team.

Collaboration with regional festivals for mutually beneficial outreach and an inclusive Saarang

The Pune Milan of 2015 was conducted in collaboration with Karavaan, the annual cultural festival of IISER Pune. This helped reduce production-related costs.

Provide a forum and a discussion platform to incorporate the opinion of the general student body

Other than the online voting for the students’ preferred starring act for the Popular Night, no such forum was conducted.

To ensure transparency, an overview of the budgets and the expenditures will be presented to the general student body post Saarang

The Saarang Townhall meet was conducted to ensure complete transparency. The Saarang budget was clearly described during this meet. Cash flow statements were released every month.

Interactive Ambience: Ensure the presence of interactive ambience elements so that overall engagement of the crowd is more than usual and they experience a festive feel.

The large Saarang banners at CLT and IC&SR were put up so that people could take photos with them (but this was a feature also year also). There was also an Olx selfie stall, says Varun.

Saarang Art Gala: An Art Gallery of professional paintings, sculptures and installations

No such Gala happened.

Packaging events: Establishing franchise to make events self-sustainable

Some events were grouped into their respective verticals and pitched to sponsors. For instance, Classical Arts and Western Music events were pitched under the name of their verticals to get money from alumni and sponsors respectively. But it is to be noted that WM got its own sponsors last year also.

Introducing World Humour Festival, comprising of world renowned artistes

Although the Pundits’ show did happen at SAC, there was no international humour festival.

Introducing diverse, multi-cultural, multi-national “free” professional show

Despite contact being made with a famous Indian band, no such professional show happened.


Completed 7 28
Partially Completed 9 36
Not completed 9 36

Note: The percentage completion rate is only one of the indicators towards a secretary’s effectiveness. Thus, readers are requested to go through the entire review to understand his tenure better. Also, please keep in mind that the achievements mentioned are those of the Cul Secs, the Saarang team and Sangam together.


  • For  the first time ever, an institute band (WeDesi) has had the opportunity to perform at the OAT. This was an opening act for The BTechs’ gig at Mardi Gras
  • The same band now has a gig at a mall and will get to record a song at a studio through the Music Club.
  • Cult Weekend : Happened in the form of Mardi Gras. Carnival team helped alumni set up stalls during the Two day fest.
  • With the formation of the Cultural Club Committee (Sangam), the prominence of Club Conveners did increase and hence, increased the club atmosphere in the institute.


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